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A photo of the SWICS instrument
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Courtesy of the University of Maryland Space Physics Group

SWICS Instrument Page

The SWICS (Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer) instrument on Ulysses is to measure the frequency of occurence, temperature and average speed of all the major solar wind ions, from Hydrogen through Iron. Another main goal of the Ulysses mission is to test the solar wind coming from the poles of the Sun. These regions of the Sun are known to give off high-speed streams (HSST's) of solar wind. Scientists are using the SWICS instrument to see if these streams are of constant speed and constant composition.

The instrument has already collected data at the north and south pole of the Sun. Scientists have already found evidence that speed and composition are steady at the poles of the Sun.

One interesting fact about the SWICS instrument is that it measures the composition, temperature, and speed of solar wind ions of speeds ranging from 175 km/s to 1280 km/s. Compare these to the velocity of Ulysses, the fastest space probe to date travelling at 11.3 km/s!

Last modified January 25, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF